Essentials: Crime and Punishment

Jared Berg

Jared Berg

The Story: Crime and Punishment is a psychological thriller set in St. Petersburg, Russia during the 1860’s. The story’s main character is a young, broke but educated loner named Raskolnikov, who resents society and its values.

Burdened by his own boredom and radical view of utilitarianism, Raskolnikov decides to murder a greedy old pawnbroker and steal her money. The story follows Raskolnikov through his planning the crime and committing it, describing in vivid detail the mental justification for each action the character takes.

Laced with intriguing subplots and intellectual dialogue, Crime and Punishment keeps readers hooked by offering an interesting new addition to the suspense in every chapter.

The second half of the novel focuses on the vicious moral dilemma Raskolnikov faces within his own mind. Confession or freedom? Truth or lies? Either choice contains a punishment of insurmountable anguish.

The Author: Born in Moscow, Russia in 1821, Fyodor Dostoevsky graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy of Military Engineering in 1843. In 1849 he was arrested for his involvement in a group that published socialist propaganda.

After spending a total of four years in a Siberian prison, Dostoevsky participated in mandatory military service for another four. His time spent in prison is said to have been a major influence on his writing, and is found in certain scenes of Crime and Punishment.

Dostoevsky suffered from epilepsy, depression and an addiction to gambling later in life. Before his death in 1881 Fyodor Dostoevsky also authored several other novels including: The Gambler, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Idiot.

Why is it essential?

* Brings to light the moral dilemma behind every important decision.

* Considered influential in Psychology and Philosophy as it is in Literature.

* Crime and Punishment was published in book form for the first time in 1867 and is still being printed today.

* Will make you think twice before killing someone.